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Google Ranks Chinese Propaganda Highly in Searches of Political Topics

May 29, 2022

According to a recent study, Google and YouTube rank Chinese stage propaganda outlets highly in searches relating to political issues — including the denial of the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China.

The New York Post reports that Google and YouTube have been giving high rankings to Chinese propaganda outlets in its search engines. Some of the content ranked highly by the Silicon Valley tech giant includes denials of the abuse of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of China, and conspiracy theories that the coronavirus originated in a U.S. military lab.

A report published by the Brookings Institute and the Alliance for Securing Democracy noted that Microsoft’s Bing search engine also ranked Chinese sources very highly on controversial issues. “China has exploited search engine results on Xinjiang and COVID-19, two subjects that are geopolitically salient to Beijing,” the researchers said.

Searches on Google and Bing for “Xinjiang,” the area in China where an estimated one million Uyghur Muslims have been locked up in concentration camps, include a Chinese state-backed source within the top 10 results in 88 percent of searches. 90 percent of Xinjiang searches on YouTube show a Chinese-government-backed video in the top 10 results, according to the study.

A Google spokesperson told The Post: “Google actively works to combat coordinated influence and censorship operations while also protecting access to information and free expression online. Third-party research shows that Google Search consistently returns high-quality results, especially compared to other search engines.”

Chinese state media outlets have also pushed theories that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a U.S. military lab in Maryland called Fort Detrick. Searches for “Fort Detrick” on youtube show an average of five Chinese state-sponsored videos within the top ten results.


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